Sat-ND, 16.10.96

Sat-ND 16.10.96 - Satellite and Media News

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LEO alliance set up to secure bandwidth
The three licensed U.S. operators of "Big LEO" satellite communications
systems, Globalstar, IRIDIUM and Odyssey, have agreed to co-operate in
order to gain access to the global market.
The three companies reached their pact less than two weeks before the
International Telecommunication Union's World Telecommunication Policy
Forum opens in Geneva, Switzerland, where more than 100 countries will
consider the regulatory issues raised by the introduction of global mobile
personal communications by satellite.
The frequency-use plan the three companies agreed upon is based on the same
spectrum-sharing and segmentation plan adopted by the U.S. Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) in its "Big LEO Order" that authorised the
three systems to operate in the U.S.
Globalstar and Odyssey use code division multiple access (CDMA) for their
services, sharing a segment of the frequency spectrum for their mobile
links. That segment can also accommodate other global systems employing
compatible technologies. IRIDIUM utilises time division multiple access
(TDMA) in a separate segment for its mobile links.
"The fact that we have agreed to pursue a common spectrum sharing and
segmentation plan for our mobile links should simplify the regulatory
process in countries where we seek to operate," said John T. Feneley,
director for international development and regulatory affairs for Odyssey
Telecommunications International Inc.

PAS goes Internet
PanAmSat Corporation announced today it is providing Indonesian PT.
Primacom with a satellite-based Internet connection. PT. Primacom
contracted the PanAmSat service on behalf of sister company CBN.Net, which
provides retail Internet access in Indonesia. The transmissions via PAS-2
(169°E) commenced earlier this month.
The PAS-2 service consists of 4 MHz on the satellite's C-band Pacific Rim
beam, which provides extensive coverage of Asia and direct access to the
continental U.S. PT. Primacom is relaying Internet traffic via PAS-2 from
an on-site antenna at CBN.Net s office in Jakarta to PanAmSat's Pacific
Ocean Region teleport in Sylmar, Calif. A dedicated fiber link in Sylmar
then forwards the traffic directly to the Internet, providing users in
Indonesia with full access to the World Wide Web. In December, PanAmSat
will transfer the U.S. routing service from Sylmar to its new permanent
Pacific Ocean Region teleport in Napa, Calif.
"PanAmSat's PAS-2 satellite has enabled PT. Primacom to access a major U.S.
Internet backbone almost overnight, giving the company and its customers
access to information and communication via the World Wide Web, " said
Frederick A. Landman, PanAmSat's president and chief executive officer.
Half a year ago, Indonesian information minister Harmoko said his country
was ready to deal with the free flow of information through the Internet.
"The flow of information cannot be checked, but there is no need for us to
be too concerned," he told the domestic news agency Antara.

Thomson likely to be sold to Lagardere, Daewoo
The French government today said it preferred the bid by missile-maker
Lagardere Groupe for electronics firm Thomson SA over a rival one by
civilian engineering group Alcatel Alsthom (Sat-ND, 15.10.96.) This may
come as a bit of surprise as Lagardere has teamed up with South Korea's
Daewoo Group. Obviously, Lagardere will care for Thomson's military
ventures while the consumer electronics devisions might go to South Korea.
Lagardere's Matra unit specialises in air-to-air missiles, while
Thomson-CSF has ground-to-air missiles to offer. Matra is also involved in
a joint venture with British Aerospace Plc. and, besides, manufactures
communications satellites.

More euronews in Eire
euronews is to get a few new viewers. The third national tv station, which
is to be an Irish language based service, is to carry one hour of euronews
every evening between 7 and 8 pm. The RTE 1 service already carries
euronews in the early hours of the morning. The new station is due to start
at the end of this month.
<Frank.Kearney@analog.com> (Frank Kearney)

Kirch news
German media mogul Leo Kirch himself has confirmed intentions to transform
his media empire into a charitable foundation (Sat-ND, 12.10.96.) Talking
to the Wall Street Journal, he claimed this move made sure his company
survived his own decease. Kirch said no shares of his company are going to
be transferred, he will keep them all. 
Kirch's efforts to get his digital TV package DF1 onto German cable
networks so far weren't successful. Deutsche Telekom has confirmed there
are talks with Kirch, the only provider of digital TV in the country.
According to the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Telekom insists on a common
decoder standard. That may sound funny as there will be no other digital TV
services than those of Kirch for the time being. The main reason, however,
is probably that Deutsche Telekom wants to control the conditional access
systems on their cable network.
Meanwhile, KirchGruppe has announced it will add a new channel to its DF1
basic tier. As from November 1, BBC Prime will be part of the bouquet. The
channel is distributed by European Channel Management, a joint venture of
Pearson Television, Cox Communications and the BBC's commercial arm, BBC

Channel 5 in March -- and on BSkyB?
Britain's fifth terrestrial television channel now says it will launch in
March 1997. "What's been widely rumoured in the trade press is an Easter
date -- the last weekend of March -- and I wouldn't demur from that," said
Channel 5 chief executive David Elstein. The Independent Television
Commission (ITC) will discuss the date tomorrow.
Elstein admitted there are problems with the retuning scheme that requires
Channel 5 to adjust video cassette recorders and other devices in viewers'
homes in order to avoid interference with the new TV channel. Recently,
Channel 5 was granted access to an additional frequency that would make it
available to as many as 1.8 million extra homes. Of course, they have to be
retuned, too.
There's also news on Channel 5's satellite plans. BSkyB might make the
channel become a part of their pay-TV package. "Sky has its own good
reasons for wanting to have Channel 5 on satellite. So long as they can
find capacity at a price which we can afford, we would certainly want to go
down that route," said Elstein, by the way a BSkyB executive until joining
Channel 5 last month.

Window to the world?
The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and the soon(?)-to-launch Channel 5 announced they
had all signed up to broadcast the same programmes as now on both existing
analogue and new digital frequencies.
Said National Heritage Secretary Virginia Bottomley, "It confirms their
commitment to innovation and excellence and shows Britain's confidence in
the digital future." She added that "Television has always been a window on
the world; in future that window will be bigger, brighter, better."
Really? Apart from the BBC's international news channel, which isn't too
exciting anyway, there's nothing to be seen of the famous British
Television for outside viewers although it's claimed to be the one of the
best in the world. And by the way, dear Mrs Bottomley, digital TV
definitely is not going to change this -- on the contrary.

Other news
* French Aerospatiale announced it will supply three new METEOSAT
satellites to the European Space Agency ESA and the weather satellite
organisation EUMETSAT. The weather satellites, which are worth a total of
ECU600 million (US$800 million,) will be launched from the year 2000 using
Ariane rockets.
* CNN and Sports Illustrated will launch their 24 hour U.S. cable sports
network called CNN/SI on December 12.
* Britain's newspaper The Independent reports that the country's four
largest cable operators will start a digital TV service of their own next
year. They are closely working together with Pace Micro Technology to
establish a standard for set-top boxes. BskyB has announced the roll-out of
its digital 200-channel service next autumn.
* An intermediate report by a commission of the German parliament calls for
a ban of commercials on channels provided by public broadcasters. The
country's opposition party, the Social democrats, argued the government
wanted to strangulate the pubcasters. 
The report also calls for commercial channels to participate in providing
the public with „basic services," which so far has been the task of

PS: This is the fist Sat-ND ever to be written on another word processor
that Microsoft Word. (Forgive me, Billy.) Instead, I tried Lotus Word Pro.
Should anything look strange, just ignore it.

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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